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Launching My Legacy – Part 3

Launching My Legacy – Part 3

 (For Launching My Legacy – Part 2 – Click Here.)

By Richard Weijo

After spending a great deal of time, energy and thought in developing my renewal plan, the path to living this perfect renewal did not proceed as I expected.  Three events caused a detour in this path.

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Richard’s Granddaughter

The first was the birth of my granddaughter, about six months earlier. I want her to be successful in the future. My wife and I had created a living trust, but I wondered what else we should be doing.

The second was learning that I had prostate cancer. Two weeks after I officially retired from my prior career, I was told by a doctor that I had prostate cancer.  I have always been quite healthy, so this was shocking.  My only experience with worrying about cancer was from a very extreme PSA score about five years earlier.  That time, a prostate cancer specialist called me while I was having dinner with my wife, asking me to schedule an appointment with him as soon as possible.  He asked me to go into a Kaiser Permanente facility and to retake the test that same evening.

I remember not sleeping that night – thinking about cancer … and my life.  I remember going into work the next day, anxious and tired at the same time.  And I greatly appreciated receiving a call from that same doctor at 8:15 AM, telling me that the earlier PSA was wrong.  My PSA score was actually fine.

But this time, it was different. This time, that second PSA test and other follow-up tests confirmed the diagnosis.  I spent the next several months learning about options, having surgery, and recovering.  While my surgery was very successful, I realized I could not avoid it any longer; I needed to start planning our legacy for future generations.

The third event was finding some important family heirlooms. This happened while I was going through drawers to get rid of items that were no longer of value to me. Some old coins were tucked away in a corner of a drawer. They were old silver dollars, buffalo nickels, and some other miscellaneous coins I had owned for over forty years. There weren’t many, and I thought perhaps it was time to sell them to clear out more space.

As I was going through some other cabinets, I found even more old coins that had been my father’s. He was a World War II veteran who served in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific during the war. Some of the coins were very old. One coin was an 1866 penny from Great Britain. Another was a 1920 Australian penny. Others were from the Philippines. There was even some old Japanese war currency. These artifacts are an important legacy from my father’s past. He left no stories about the war; he would only speak about it with the men with whom he had served.

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Richard’s Wife Sharon with their Granddaughter Elsie

A genesis of an idea stirred. Instead of getting rid of all of these coins, why not assemble them into a coin collection? These coins could describe a history of our family that could be passed on to future generations. Each future generation could build on this legacy by adding to the collection, incorporating other new coins and the stories that went with them. I did some further research on coins. Not being a coin collector, I was fascinated by how much some of the coins had appreciated. The 1866 penny was now worth around twenty dollars and the silver dollars about forty dollars. Investing in coins could accumulate a valuable legacy over several generations.

And I seriously had thought about selling these coins as if they were useless trinkets!

I began writing, and writing, and writing about legacy.  Perhaps at first it was cathartic.  At first my writing was for my family.  It was very personal, and I thought would make a memorable Christmas gift to my wife, daughter and granddaughter.  All I would need to do is go to a Kinko’s/FedEx print shop, bind-up three copies and I would be done.

Then I thought, maybe I could write this for my broader family – that they could benefit as well.  I was a bit nervous about this.  Maybe they won’t like what I write.  But I persisted, and kept writing.

Then I really had a REALLY new idea.  

Click here to find out what Rick did next!

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Richard O. Weijo, PhD, received an undergraduate degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and went on to receive his MBA and PhD degrees from the University of Minnesota. He was an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Richard was also a Senior Analyst at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and his most recent corporate position was as a Manager of market research and Director of customer channels at Portland General Electric. Currently, he is a consultant and a writer. He adores his young granddaughter Elsie, whose birth inspired his book, Our Dreams For Our Children: Creating Legacies That Inspire Each New Generation To Achieve A Brighter Future.